So being stuck at home has been an interesting time period. Sure, it’s allowed me to save up a little money that I would otherwise have spent on something. And it is also true that is has given me a lot of time to watch or catch up on things I haven’t seen in a while or at all. You would think that I would be using this time to write more for my blog or even use it to record videos for my YouTube channel, but that has not been the case. It has been a time of reflection and looking ahead. I decided to finally go ahead and start a YouTube channel, which was easier to do after I upgraded my 10year old Canon DSLR. So here is to what is to come.
Speaking on taking time to reflect and watch things I haven’t seen in a while, this past weekend I binged watched X-Men the Animated Series. As a younger me, high school age, I loved this cartoon. After all, X-Men was one of my go to comics as a kid. I have mentioned in other posts that as a child I never felt that I fit in anywhere. I was always the odd kid out in groups. I knew that I was more interested in boys, even as a young kid, so I knew I was different. That’s the basic premise of the X-Men. They are all people who don’t fit into society and they struggle every day for acceptance. They still fight to protect what is good and just, even though the people that live in that world reject them. It seems a pictorial anthem for what I was going through.
As I moved into high school, I stuck out more and it was hard, very hard. There were dark days, but when I saw that they made an animated version of a beloved comic, I hoped for the same feelings. I remember the day it aired, it was Saturday October 31st, 1992 and talk about a perfect Halloween gift. I watched that show as much as was possible for a child growing up in the rural south. Each episode focused on a mutant that was having a hard time finding their place in life, in some fashion or another. This became my 30 minute get-a-way, my place to recede into a world where there were others who knew what I was going through and there to help me belong to a higher good. Suffice it to say, I didn’t realize there was already a larger community of people who felt the same as I did.
It was also in the same year, 1992, that Marvel released their first gay character. This came on the tails of the revision of the Comics Code just three years before. That character would go down in history with the name Northstar. In issue #106 of Alpha Flight he declared to the readers and world “I’m gay.” This changed the world of comics and gave LGBTQ youth something they could relate to, even more. It was in that single act that I felt safety in a world that I had not before. I’m not saying that it made being queer easier, it would be another three years, at least, before I came out to my college friends. During those college years I was back to feeling that I was swept up in that cacophonous wave of uncertainty and not belonging.
What X-men taught me was having the strength to keep fighting and not give up. To believe in myself and that, even though I am different, I belong and not an outcast. When you’re growing up a queer kid, we don’t always have resources and ability to talk about how we feel. Many of us turn to things like comics/cartoons, gaming, computers, or pop culture as a means to understand ourselves and feel good. These may be short lived feelings, but often times it is enough to get us through some of the darker spots in our lives.